Despite the disruptions posed by this year, our participant is making great strides to long-term employment
Mastering her barista training: Teresa during her placement at Loaf Catering
Teresa’s first encounter with NOW Group began late one Friday afternoon when she called into The Hive to find out about the services that the organisation offers.
She explained that she has Asperger syndrome, and found it difficult interacting with new people and suffered from high levels of anxiety.
During this first meeting, Teresa met her Employment Officer Anne Cheevers, and the two arranged to meet the following Monday morning at Belfast City Hall, where Anne would show Teresa around Loaf Catering’s The Bobbin café and introduce her to the team.
Although Anne was unsure if anxiety issues would hinder Teresa from meeting a virtual stranger in a new location, she was pleasantly surprised to find her on time at the arranged spot. And after a productive discussion, they agreed to try a six-week placement at The Bobbin.
Having gained in confidence and experience, Teresa’s placement was subsequently extended at The Bobbin. As she was keen to gain some qualifications to help with her future job prospects, too, she signed up for the Loaf Academy and started her theory classes at head office.
While making significant progress in all directions, Teresa’s journey was halted by the lockdown measures that arrived in the UK in March, with both her theory and placement pursuits suspended due to the closure of The Bobbin and The Hive.
We are glad to report that all of this has been but a temporary delay for Teresa.
After the passage of a few months, she was able to resume classes as before in The Hive, which had undergone rigorous safety preparations in the intervening months.
Then, with The Bobbin remaining shut along with all City Hall activity, she was offered the opportunity to pick up her placement in Loaf’s newest catering site at Ulster Museum, Belfast – an unfamiliar challenge but one she was more than willing to face.
Teresa had settled well into her latest work-based experience prior to the circuit break restrictions, and, in the meantime, continues making advances in Loaf Academy uninterrupted. We are in little doubt that she will be as undeterred by the current setback as the last.